If you spend any time at all (shame on you) on internet gun forums, I’d bet dollars to dumpster fires that you’ve seen the topic of R.I.P. ammunition, from G2, come up. Some support its claim of being outrageously effective, while others refer to it as nothing more than a gimmick. This is exactly why I don’t bother with forums.
Is G2 Ammunition for You?
Fortunately, I have better means of gathering data, namely firsthand experience. We had plenty of Clear Ballistics 10 percent FBI gel on hand, plus a variety of materials to shoot through. So, it only made sense to schedule a range day to find out for myself.
R.I.P. is only one product from G2 Ammunition. Although this is considered the company’s flagship product, they offer many other types of defensive ammunition. They come in a variety of handgun and rifle cartridges and even 12-gauge shotgun shells. These rounds are all designed with monolithic copper bullets that either fracture or expand when they strike flesh. This is where the controversy lies.
One camp applauds the fracturing for its multiple wound channels. As a result, it expedites blood loss and increases the chances of hitting a vital organ, instantly disabling a threat. The other camp screams that this very fracturing limits penetration and the individual particles are too small to be effective.
Confidence in Their Product
I started my investigation by getting the owner, Chris Nix, on the phone and proposing my test to him. To my surprise, he gave me the green light to publish any negative results that we experienced. I say it was to my surprise because I didn’t ask, he offered that up.
I requested just enough ammo to conduct our testing and he was gracious enough to set us up with 9mm R.I.P, Telos, and Civic Duty, as well as some of the company’s R.I.P. shotgun ammo. He explained all of the different types to me, and the need behind each made perfect sense to me. With the exception for the shotshells. Were there people complaining that a 12-gauge slug wasn’t effective enough? As I waited for the samples to arrive, I hit the lab to sketch out details of my upcoming test.
Protocol & Predictions
Now, I have never had to shoot a person, but I have killed many, many different animals. I may not have a degree in terminal ballistics, but I have plenty of real-world experience with bullets of all types ending a life, including handgun bullets. If you’ve taken the free DEC Hunter’s Safety course you learn that bullets cause damage through shock, not blood loss. This shock is the result of an energy transfer. For that to happen the bullet needs to stop inside of what it hits.
Think of when you shoot a paper target; nothing happens to it, right? Now if you walked downrange and flicked it with your finger it would go flying off of the hanger. Your finger doesn’t have more kinetic energy than a bullet, it is just more effective at transferring the little that it has to the paper.
Of course, surface damage isn’t what stops a threat. That slap needs to happen close to a vital organ to stop them “dead” in their tracks. When a bullet stops inside of a liquid medium it displaces matter. In turn, it has a crushing effect that is several inches larger than the diameter of the bullet.
Get the right bullet to stop within a few inches of a beating heart and the wave will blast through the heart, nearly liquefying it. When you shoot a deer you have to pick which meat you don’t care to lose because of this.
Capitalizing on the Energy
Now, handgun bullets have less energy than most rifle bullets. So, they need to capitalize on their delivery, plus they need to be able to penetrate. If you consider the makeup of a human body, we are quite delicate. Our skin is so thin that common foliage can tear it and our vitals are only mere inches below it.
I have a sniper buddy who once referred to people as “big varmints,” and if you’ve ever popped prairie dogs then you should be able to make the connection.
So, to me, penetration was important but not critical. Nonetheless, I wanted to run each round into a block of gel through layers of denim and leather. This would confirm that they had what it takes to punch through clothing and skin, at the very least.
Since a threat is often behind cover, I also wanted to confirm that they would make it through traditional glass and Plexiglas. Aside from accuracy, these two tests would tell me everything I needed to know about this ammunition.
G2 Ammunition’s R.I.P. line stands for “Radically Invasive Projectile” and is designed to break apart very quickly. This sends the core deep into tissue while flowering out several deadly petals. We started our test with a basic accuracy average of five five-shot groups. I mean, if it doesn’t fly straight what good is it, right?
It beat my “minute of head” standard at seven yards and yielded an average group size of 1.73 inches out of our Smith & Wesson Shield Plus with velocities hovering around 1,125 feet per second (fps) on the 92-grain bullet.
After confirming it to be tight enough to hit the gel, we punched a round into our first Clear Ballistics block and liked what we saw. Seven petals plus a flake broke off within the first few inches of penetration and stopped at a uniform depth of 4.25 inches. The core went a full 13 inches before stopping and maintained a nearly perfectly straight path.
After pulling it from the gel we found it to still weigh 44.5 grains. Which by itself is responsible for dumping 125 of the 285 total ft-lbs of energy (fpe) into the block.
For comparison, traditional .380 ACP bullets only put about 180 fpe on target and this is only on one single area. So, with the R.I.P rounds, you have lethal energy in the core alone plus seven other opportunities to puncture something important for sustained life. In addition, all of that cutting is going to equal massive blood loss. So, if the threat is still on its feet, it won’t be for long.
Shooting Through Barriers
I had a concern about something that fragmented readily defeating barriers. Aside from that, I needed to be sure that it would stay on target if it did. So later in the day, I set up a test apparatus that housed either Plexi or conventional glass with a paper target three feet behind it.
Unbelievably the rounds not only defeated both barriers easily but neither barrier caused an alarming deflection. And we were able to keep the rounds well within our 6-inch aiming zone. While it was unclear if the bullet started to fragment when it hit the conventional glass, it was obvious that it stayed completely intact when it passed through the Plexiglas.
Telos No Lies
The word “Telos” carries the ancient Greek definition of “Ultimate Goal” or end game. That’s pretty ominous stuff and it paints a picture of what this round is all about. Instead of aggressively shattering like the R.I.P . rounds, the Telos line is a controlled fracturing projectile that has less of a chance of over penetrating.
We started with an accuracy test and found it to outperform the R.I.P. rounds in this department with an average group size of 1.53 inches. These rounds are designated +P and thus generate a bit more velocity, averaging 1,178 fps out of the same Smith & Wesson Shield Plus.
The Telos performed in the same manner on the gel with nearly immediate fracturing, except it broke off six larger petals to the R.I.P.’s eight. These petals went to the same depth as the R.I.P. petals. However, the core stopped about three inches shorter giving a nod to the “reduced over-penetration” claim.
We pulled the core and weighed it to confirm the weight of 31.6 grains putting it at just 96 fpe. However, it’s important to again note that the energy transfer comes from every piece that stopped inside of the threat and in this case, it was every bit of the 92-grain bullet, which generated a total of 295 fpe.
The Telos was an animal on the glass as well, showing zero signs of deformation or deterioration on either the conventional or Plexi. All in all, I was satisfied and I understand that the lighter core was the tradeoff to the larger petals. However, a little piece of me would have liked to see more than 100 fpe in this piece, just to help it crash through bone if needed.
The third handgun round we tested that day was the Civic Duty. G2 Ammunition likely made this round to shut up the “fragmenting rounds don’t work” camp. This round performs like a traditional hollow point but on steroids.
We started with the same accuracy test and gathered an average group of 2.09 inches. Which is a little larger but nothing concerning. It was slower than the other rounds, hitting our Caldwell G2 Chronograph at 1,074 fps on average, but at 94 grains that is still giving us a lethal 242 fpe, so long as it applies it all on target.
Well, after firing and walking downrange we were able to confirm it did indeed perform, as it turned into a tumbling starfish of death that measured more than twice its original diameter. It penetrated 7.25 inches and eventually tumbled towards the end of its path. After pulling it from the gel and cleaning it off, we put it on the scale to observe a final weight of 93.6 grains, indicating nearly 100 percent weight retention.
Naturally, something that holds together this well is going to perform well through barriers, but for consistency, we sent it through both types of glass to confirm. Indeed, it stayed together and experienced marginal deflection.
Shotshells From Hell
We ended our day by blasting away at some water jugs with the 12-gauge R.I.P. shotgun ammo. The shells penetrated up to four gallon jugs before stopping, and they sure made a splash.
We decided to forgo gel testing because, frankly, we didn’t have enough gel to stop these things. However, we were able to recover one core and it weighed in at 121 grains, mind you after shedding five petals that together make up the 303-grain projectile.
These rounds must be fired out of a smoothbore (with a cylinder bore) but that did not hurt accuracy, as we had no problem creating one-hole groups from seven yards with our Mossberg 590A1. Recorded velocity on these suckers was approximately 1,465 fps leaving us with a whopping 1,441 fpe, and judging by the way the jugs virtually vaporized upon impact, I’d say it did a pretty good job of transferring it too.
While an internet search is often the fastest answer to a question, it isn’t always the best. I admit, when I first saw these rounds and the claims around them I was quick to dismiss them myself. However, after doing a bit of my own research I formed a much more accurate opinion. That opinion is that they perform as advertised, and both the math and gel results suggest that these would be lethal on a human target.
My one qualm is that they could use a little more velocity. Now, realize, I wasn’t there during the engineering process. So, there is likely a good reason they didn’t hop these lightweight pills up to the ridiculous speeds that they can travel. It’s hard to criticize G2 Ammunition for that without the entire story.
As for my personal use, I like the idea of using R.I.P. and Telos for home security, and I wouldn’t hesitate to carry Civic Duty in the streets. It seems that is the “serving suggestion” for each round. Overall, I was satisfied with their performance, especially since we experienced 100 percent ignition and zero feeding or ejecting issues. At the end of the day, it might not have been a “green light” to publish bad information from Mr. Nix, rather a challenge.
For more information, visit G2RAmmo.com.
This article was originally published in the Combat Handguns March/April 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email email@example.com.